The leader of Hizbollah on Friday warned Lebanon that nationwide protests calling for the overthrow of the government could lead to chaos and civil war.
Hassan Nasrallah praised protesters for attaining “unprecedented” financial reforms but also recommended foreign intervention had a part in the demonstrations.
More than a quarter of Lebanon’s population are reported to have taken to the streets in anti-corruption protests more than the previous week. Hizbollah supporters have in current days organised counter-attacks on the protests, which have so far remained largely absolutely free of sectarian division.
The highly effective Shiite group, which is backed regionally by Iran, is in coalition with the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Speaking to the nation for the very first time on day nine of the mass protests, Nasrallah warned that he had “intelligence” of foreign “conspiracies” to drag Lebanon into civil war.
The leader claimed that the protests had began spontaneously, but have been now getting funded and organised by regional and foreign actors who have been exploiting the naivety of protestors.
His speech echoed these offered earlier this week by Mr Hariri and Michel Aoun, the country’s president.
On the streets, protesters appeared unmoved. “All of them implies all of them” they chanted, in reference to the demand for the country’s whole cabinet to be replaced.
For the second day, safety forces had to make human walls amongst the protestors and Hizbollah supporters in attempts to quit scuffles.
“We are not going to quit our protests till we get what we want. We have been suffocated in these situations for years. They have to go. All of them implies all of them,” mentioned Hieba, a 42-year-old restaurant owner.